What does 'ground rent' mean?

A ground rent refers to a scenario where an individual owns his house, but someone else owns the actual property (the “ground”). The homeowner pays the ground rent owner an annual fee, or a ground rent, as a rent on the land.

In Baltimore, this form of ownership dates back to the 18th century. The intent was to make homeownership affordable, by allowing purchasers to only have to buy the house, while paying an annual rent on the land.